The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career?
Baseball has been my passion for as long as I can remember and coaching is something I have always been drawn to. My father, Greg Simmons, has been the head baseball coach at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, North Carolina for 27 years. I grew up surrounded by baseball and coaches so from at a very young age I knew I wanted to be a coach. I always knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps, but I was unsure of the level I wanted to coach at. During my freshman year at Wingate University was when I knew I wanted to coach at the college level. I learned a lot of great things during my time at Wingate playing under some great coaches, especially head coach Jeff Gregory. These coaches have helped mold my coaching philosophy into what it is today.
Growing up my father attended the ABCA Convention and I always told him I wanted to join. As a first coaching job gift, my father told me that he would help pay my way to the convention. Last year I attended my first ABCA Convention alongside my father. It was a special moment for us and I enjoyed every second of that convention with him.
Throughout my playing career, there have been multiple coaches that have positively impacted my life in some shape or form. These coaches are ultimately the reason I chose to pursue coaching as my career. I want to be able to positively impact young players during their journey through life and baseball.
Outside of mentors, talk about one way you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.
I have learned many aspects of coaching by simply watching and listening to other coaches. Many coaches are open about what they have and haven’t tried during their careers. I enjoy researching, watching and listening to coaches to what they have done throughout their careers and learning what has and has not worked from them.
The people who have taught me the most are my players. I have learned how to interact with young athletes and connect with them. I have learned that you must get to know your athletes beyond the field on a personal level. By doing this I have been able to gain the trust of these athletes and show them that I truly care about their success on and off the ball field. I believe that once you establish this type of relationship the athlete will fully buy into the program.
Name one new thing you want to accomplish this year?
This year I want to be a better coach than I was last year. I want to improve myself each and every year and try to be a better version of myself. I am a strong believer that there is always a better way to do something, even when that was has worked in the past there is a way to refine it and make it better. I do not want to ever get complacent because as an athlete and now a coach I know what complacency can do to and individual and a team. This year and every year I want to grow and get better as a coach.
Best career or work advice you ever received?
I do not have one specific piece of advice that is better than the others. Simply by working with and listening to the coaching staff at Charlotte I have received advice every day I’m at the office. At Charlotte I have been truly blessed to be able to work under some great coaches who have many years of experience and success under their belts. I look at every day as a learning opportunity and as a chance to grow as a coach. Weather we are in the office, out at practice, or a game day, I am always trying to gain as much knowledge from these coaches as I can. Somedays that comes in the form of asking questions and other days it comes in the form of sitting back and listening.
Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Who is it?
This is a very tough question for me as there are so many great coaches across the board that I would love to be able to sit down with and pick their brains. One coach that I would particularly like to sit down with is Tim Corbin of Vanderbilt University. I have watched him coach at Vanderbilt for many years and have much respect for him and how he runs his program. I have heard many great things about him and what he has done in his career.